Blade Runner, Dan Brown, Dystopia, Dystopian Fiction, Elysium, Joachim Boaz, Malthusian Catastrophe, Overpopulation, population growth, Robert Heinlein, Soylent Green, Thomas Malthus, World Population, Writing Dystopia, Writing Science Fiction
Those who read or write dystopian and apocalyptic stories, are likely to know what a Malthusian Check is. For those who don’t, a quick Wikipedia definition.
“The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world.”
Also known as a Malthusian catastrophe, it refers to humanity’s forced return to subsistence-level conditions if population growth outpaces the world’s agricultural production.
It involves a subject we hear about in a regular stream of media events, population growth. Today, the human population is estimated around 7 billion. In the last two-thousand years, we’ve gone from just another mammalian species struggling for a niche, to the most dominant, animal life form on the planet. We can thank our developed frontal lobe for allowing us to think our way out of natural selection limiters designed to keep numbers in check. Today, humanity’s only real predator is …